Josh Thole To Return Early?

According to The New York Times, there’s a slight possibility that catcher Josh Thole could return early from his Venezuelan Winter League stint.

Thole is currently playing for Leones de Caracas, and Mets officials are concerned for his safety after the recent kidnapping of Victor Zambrano’s mother and the murder of his cousin.

From the New York Times article:

“We’re doing our due diligence regarding the entire situation,” Mets General Manager Omar Minaya said. “We’re looking into it to make sure Josh knows what’s going on and we know that he is safe.”

The Mets have received reports that Thole is enjoying his time in Caracas without any concerns about his safety, and that he hopes to stay through his scheduled departure date, Dec. 8.

The kid definitely needs all the reps he can get, but three less weeks of winter ball are not going to be the difference-maker in terms of whether he’ll be MLB-ready next April, so the Mets may play it safe and get him home.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Harry Chiti November 14, 2009 at 10:48 am
    Ah yes, the great Met front office. Thier concerned about a player’s safety, yet they are so pathetic they can’t make a decision about him going home. Add one more notch to the joke that is on all met fans. The Met front office, can’t plan how to develop a team, can’t figure outhow to pay drafteees, can’t decide how to handle injuries, and now they can’t decide how to handle a player’s safety. And you wonder why the Mets have to overpay to get players to come to Queens!!!
  2. isuzudude November 14, 2009 at 12:01 pm
    To be fair, Harry, the Mets are not the only team who has players representing them in the Venezuelan league. You can check out the league here:

    So if you are to criticize the Mets hierarchy for not pulling Thole out of the league earlier, then you should also be equally critical to every other team who has players in the league as well. And just about every team in baseball has players in the Venezuelan League. Does that mean all of those teams don’t care about their players’ safety? Are they all pathetic for failing to make a decision? Will they all have to overpay to get a free agent to sign with them?

  3. Harry Chiti November 14, 2009 at 12:19 pm
    dude: I disagree with your argument. When I am in charge of people and I have a concern about their safety I get them the hell out of wherever. Show me that another team is concerned and doing nothing but think about it and I will tell you what I think of them. Is it possible that other teams have actually done something about their players, maybe they’ve added security or maybe they’ve done their homework and found theire is no risk. The Mets just pout. Unacceptable on the part of any employer.
  4. Lelo Quevedo November 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm
    Im from Venezuela, and I’ve been follow all the works that Thole do. The situation in this country is not the best, but I trust that his 24/7 fully protected with security guards… Hes a star now! and we really LOVE that he can stay until the final, we know that he have anothers things to do, but while he rest in Caracas, he allways be one of the best!

    I love you Joshua! <3

  5. joejanish November 14, 2009 at 2:16 pm
    Lelo – thanks very much for the update !
  6. isuzudude November 14, 2009 at 4:19 pm
    Why is it assumed that other teams are providing proper protection for their players but the Mets are not? You have no evidence of the contrary. There needs to be such a thing as objective criticism. The Mets are not just ‘pouting.’ Read the statement from Omar above again. He is reviewing the situation and doing whatever is in his power to keep his player(s) safe. And there’s no need to withdraw him from competition or surround him with an armored cavalcade if he deems there being no threat to his players’ well being.

    There was just an attack at Fort Hood in Texas. Does that mean you can no longer send your son or your daughter to an army base anymore because it is unsafe? Shouldn’t the analogy also apply to the country of Venezuela?

    Please do not let your personal disdain for the Mets front office cloud your judgement, and don’t jump to conclusions that every decision they ever make is wrong, especially when it deals with a life/death situation.